Retiree tribute: Professor Maurice Cherry
MAURICE CHERRY taught me Spanish when I was a Furman undergraduate. He then taught me how to teach Spanish when I was a Furman graduate student.
When I student-taught, he supervised all Furman foreign language student teachers, which entailed visiting us in our respective schools. He spent however long was needed to affirm and motivate us as we brought foreign languages to sometimes less than appreciative adolescents. He molded my career choice and he regularly checks in with me, be it by sending a congratulatory note for a publication or encouraging me to make a presentation at a conference.
A 1965 Furman graduate himself, Maurice Cherry stood for rigor in the classroom. Four decades of Furman undergraduates carry those hard-earned grades as badges. His assessments were always accompanied by personal and constructive feedback. I still have my student-teaching journal, the pages peppered with thoughtful comments. He read every word of our reflections, complaints and hopes. This is something provided only by the best professors — those willing to dedicate the hours needed to sharpen their students’ writing and thinking skills.
When I started teaching at Valdosta State University, I received an email from the editor of the catalog, Lee Bradley, welcoming me and encouraging me to visit. He knew of my arrival from Dr. Cherry. When I went to see him, I learned that Lee and Dr. Cherry were longtime friends and co-editors of the journal Dimension. We shared stories of Dr. Cherry and our sincere admiration for his intellect and unwavering dedication to excellence. This sentiment extends throughout the community of modern language scholars, as the Southern Conference on Language Teaching (SCOLT) recently honored Dr. Cherry with its prestigious Founders Award.
Professors like Maurice Cherry make Furman unique. They guide you, inspire you and end up synonymous in your mind with that special, irreplaceable time that was your college days. I know I join so many others that Dr. Cherry impacted over his 40 years of service in sincerely saying, “Thank you for a job well done.”
— RANDY GLADWIN
The author, a 1994 graduate (M.A. ’96), is associate professor of Spanish at Valdosta (Ga.) State University.